Monday, March 30, 2009

Man's best friend

I wish you had a dog named me
so that I could wait at home
and unleash my glee at seeing you
in a frenzied lashing of my tail
and you would stoop
to let me lick your face.

--Chantelle Franc

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Screwtape on Christ and pleasure (II)

From The Screwtape Letters:

I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula.

--C.S. Lewis

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Screwtape on Christ and pleasure

From The Screwtape Letters, referring to Christ:

He’s a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a facade. Or only like foam on the seashore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are ‘pleasures for evermore’. Ugh! I don’t think he has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision. He’s vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least — sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us. We fight under the cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.

--C.S. Lewis

Friday, March 27, 2009

St. Ignatius on souls wide open

From Letter of 18 July 1536:

"It happens sometimes that the Lord himself moves our souls and forces us, as it were, to this or that particular action by laying our souls wide open. This means that he begins to speak in the very depths of our being, without any clamour of words, he enraptures the soul completely into his love and bestows upon us an awareness of himself so that, even if we wished, we should be unable to resist."

--St. Ignatius

Thursday, March 26, 2009

on "Twighlight"

I have not read nor seen the movie "Twilight", nor have I wanted to until reading the post below, which I stumbled upon a few minutes ago:

Now I guess I'll have to.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pernicious schizophrenia

From: Ignatius the Theologian, Ch. 5 "The application of the Senses"

"A Christian person, in the full sense of what Ignatius was aiming at in the Spiritual Exercises, is one who has overcome the pernicious schizophrenia between soul and body, brain and heart, and thus become fully reintegrated--one who by means of prayer and assimilation to the incarnate Word has put right the 'ill-ordered attachments' of his soul and 'set his life in order'."

--Hugo Rahner, SJ

Monday, March 23, 2009

on the spiritual senses

"The spiritual senses are the effect of the three theological virtues. From constancy of faith comes the power to hear. From insight into faith comes the power of vision. From hope comes the power to smell. From union in love comes the power to touch. From the enjoyment of love comes the power to taste. This activation of the spiritual senses helps us receive ever greater graces. The helps of grace which Jesus Christ our Lord gives to those whom he loves. He who possesses them will know what this means."

--Jerome Nadal

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spiritual senses

Polanco was a disciple of Ignatius, and this is commentary from St. Ignatius' Application of the Senses:

Through it's longing for Christ, whom it desires to breathe in as the Word inviting us to the enjoyment of full union, it receives a spiritual sense of smell, so that it may walk in the fragrance of Christ's ointments: and thus Christ is its life. And finally, through the love which binds it to Christ the incarnate Word, it receives straight from him, even during this earthly pilgrimage, a sense of taste which enables it to taste how sweet the Lord is. And by embracing him in that pure love which transforms its very being, it receives a spiritual sense of touch."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A hand not empty

It is amazing that an empty hand, stretched toward you, can contain so much comfort.

St. Bonaventure on inward senses

"And once they are attained the soul beholds Christ, hears him, becomes aware of him through his pleasant fragrance, savours him and embraces him. But this can be grasped only by him who receives this grace of prayer for this is less a matter of intellectual consideration than of loving experience. Thus at this stage of prayer the soul has now won back the interior senses, so that it may behold the supreme beauty, hear the supreme harmony, breathe in the supreme frangrance, savour the supreme sweeness and touch the supreme delight.""

(Itinerarium mentis in Deum cf. 4)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Augustine inflamed

"I have learnt to love you late, Beauty at once so ancient and so new! I have learnt to love you late! You were within me, and I was in the world outside myself. I searched for you outside myself and, disfigured as I was, I fell upon the lovely things of your creation. You were with me, but I was not with you. The beautiful things of this world kept me far from you and yet, if they had not been in you, they would have had no being at all. You called me; you cried aloud to me; you broke my barrier of deafness. You shone upon me; your radiance enveloped me; you put my blindness to flight; you shed your fragrance about me; I drew breath and now I grasp your sweet odour, I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am inflamed with love of your peace."

(Confessions, X, 27)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Augustine on clinging to God's embrace

"But what do I love when I love my God? Not material beauty or beauty of a temporal order; not the brilliance of earthly light, so welcome to our eyes; not the sweet melody of harmony and song; not the fragrance of flowers, perfumes, and spices; not manna or honey; not limbs such as the body delights to embrace. It is not these that I love when I love my God. And yet, when I love him, it is true that I love a light of a certain kind, a voice, a perfume, a food, an embrace; but they are of the kind that I love in my inner self, when my soul is bathed in light that is not bound by space; when it listens to sound that never dies away; when it breathes fragrance that is not borne away on the wind; when it tastes food that is never consumed by the eating; when it clings to an embrace from which it is not severed by fulfillment of desire. This is what I love when I love my God."

(Confessions, X, 6)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Intimate kisses

Isn't it strange that after Mary's lovemaking of Jesus' feet, the second most intimate act initiated by man in the Gospels was Judas' kiss?

on reunion with the beloved

I've been reading a variety of classic and newer fantasy fiction as a form of enjoyable research re. the concept of sanctified imagination.

The most current read is the 3rd in Christopher Paolini's Eragon series (titled Brisingr), at the center of which is the relationship between dragon (Saphira) and rider (Eragon). The following is a passage describing a reunion between these two:

"Redoubling his speed, Eragon opened his mind to Saphira, removing every barrier around who he was, so that they might join together without reservation. Like a flood of warm water, her consciousness rushed into him, even as his rushed into her. Eragon gasped and tripped and nearly fell. They enveloped each other within the folds of their thoughts, holding each other with an intimacy no physical embrace could replicate, allowing their identities to merge once again. Their greatest comfort was a simple one: they were no longer alone. To know that you were with one who cared for you, and who understood every fiber of your being, and who would not abandon you in even the most desperate of circumstances, that was the most precious relationship a person could have, and both Eragon and Saphira cherished it."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

on becoming

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.

-- Epictetus

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Our desire for the beautiful

This is a quote which was included in an article I recently linked, but important enough that I thought is should also stand alone.

From The Life of Moses:

And so every desire for the Beautiful which draws us on in this ascent is intensified by the soul’s very progress towards it. And this is the real meaning of seeing God: never to have this desire satisfied. But fixing our eyes on those things which help us to see, we must ever keep alive in us the desire to see more and more. And so no limit can be set to our progress towards God: first of all, because no limitation can be put on upon the Beautiful, and secondly because the increase in our desire for the Beautiful cannot be stopped by any sense of satisfaction.

--St. Gregory of Nyssa

Friday, March 13, 2009

The feet of the master

He whispered more to me about Mary's act of love and my yearning to stand in her place.

He whispered that I could give this gift to Him through my husband.

Lord make me obedient.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Model for Holy Thursday?

As I stood in prayer before the tabernacle last night, my hands on either side of my face, feeling the texture of the carving, I wanted only to be pressed up against Him directly.

My mind went again to the sinful women who came to the house of the leper in order to bathe Jesus' feet with her tears. The Gospels speak of no other person having such intimate contact with Him.

I so identify with this woman, this sinful one, this sensualist. I wonder if her sensuality, like David's, gave her special entree to God's heart. Does He especially love those who incarnate love, albeit rashly?

As I prayed, I wondered.

I wondered if it is possible for we created ones to give God Himself ideas for expressing love. Jesus accepted her lavishing and praised it, then went on to wash the feet of His twelve.

Could she have been the inspiration?

Was she the model He followed?

A gift of caretaking

Thank you Lord for your priests.

I am so blessed by the Father you have sent my congregation. Yesterday, when he knew that I would be coming to spend time in the sanctuary in grief and supplication, he prepared it for me. He lit candles, incensed it with the prayers of the saints, and filled it with Vivaldi's violins singing the seasons.

Our tabernacle is set in the wall behind the altar, fronted with a wooden door that is carved and gilded with chalice and host. I spent an hour immediately before it, my face pressed against the wood as the tears flowed.

The sorrowful mysteries brought great peace, as did a MacDonald passage he later read to me.

I left better prepared.

It was a great gift to have such care taken over me.

A great gift.

Bread and wine? Milk and honey?

I want to taste you Lord.

Ahh, Lent (II)

Scripture tells us that the Father disciplines those He loves.

I am apparently very much loved, indeed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Becoming a dewdrop

I've stolen this lovely phrase from my friend Pranayama mama's recent post:

"I want to become like a dewdrop that reflects the entire moon."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Give me wisdom

Ah Lent...

It appears that this year's Lenten torture may be revelation about the ways in which I make a poor wife. The completion of which rests on my shoulders to seek out.

To say that I am not looking forward to it is an understatement.

However, this morning's devotional reading delivered Jeremiah 1:11-19, with commentary that included:

"If God reveals something to you, ask for his wisdom to know how to deliver the message. Be assured of his strong protection as you go on his errand."

And so I am in prayer, asking for His wisdom, and thanking Him for His protection.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Filled to silence

Sometimes I am so full of words that the only possible response to you is silence.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More on sex

Stripping sexuality of it's sacredness and treating it as recreation is like using a Maserati for offroading.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Question du jour: on Gluttony

Is it gluttonous to desire more time with one you love than what you get?

My mission field

After catechizing yesterday in my women's group on the sacraments of baptism and confession, it occurred to me that I need to better prepare my answer to the inevitable question:

"So why aren't you Roman Catholic?"

Luckily the answer came while making dinner last night: my current church is my mission field.

From within it I am helping repair the reformation rift, by equipping others to restore the beauty of the sacraments to the church from which they have been stolen.

It is a good answer. I am content.

After His heart

I've been thinking more about my sanctimonious twerpishness, and affirmed that it is indeed true.

I'm an obnoxious little teacher's pet who I would imagine is easy to hate.

In the face of this reality, it is a comfort to remember that He told me I am David, and like David, I am after God's heart.

I am -after- it.

I am filled with zeal for my Father's house. His teaching is my delight.

And I pray that my striving is pleasing to Him who I do so hope to please.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ahh, the Lenten discovery continues...

I made an ugly discovery today.

Turns out I'm an obnoxiously sanctimonious little twerp.

(Except I'd substitute another word for twerp. And I'm not that little.)